Not My Father's Son: A Memoir (Paperback)

Staff Pick Logo
Not My Father's Son: A Memoir Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Staff Reviews

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming. Alan Cumming is perhaps the actor who most embodies the “dramedy”. Known for embracing the ridiculous and plucking the occasional heartstring, he is not someone the average person would point out as having the sort of childhood he did. An excellent actor, he hid it well, even from himself for a long time. In Not My Father’s Son, Cumming takes the reader on a parallel exploration of memories from his childhood in rural Scotland and the discoveries made during the television program Who Do You Think You Are? The dual journeys rocked me to my core. Touching on the difficulties of forgiveness, the early training in putting on a face  familiar to anyone well versed in hiding from a young age, and legacies left in the most unexpected of places, Alan Cumming’s memoir feels like a balm for a wound left to fester long enough, you forgot you even had it.

— From Carlin's Picks

November 2014 Indie Next List

“Every so often reading a memoir feels like a conversation rather than a strict narrative or -- the death knell for memoir -- a self-indulgent romp down memory lane. Cumming's memoir is a gorgeous, intimate conversation and it reads beautifully. The pace is perfect, the presentation truly lovely, and I felt like a close friend rather than an impersonal audience. Cumming's early life was a struggle and he hardly shies from relating details, but the driving force behind this book is the demonstration of the many ways one can bring oneself to peace after hardship. I enjoyed it immensely.”
— Demi Marshall, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC



“Equal parts memoir, whodunnit, and manual for living . . . a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us who we are, and how we make ourselves.”  --Neil Gaiman

In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.

A beloved star of stage, television, and film—“one of the most fun people in show business” (Time magazine)—Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father’s Son will make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.

Praise For…

Alan Cumming’s moving memoir NOT MY FATHER’S SON is a beautiful book—sad, funny, haunting, surprising, suspenseful, gut-wrenching, endearing. It will linger inside of you long after you turn the final page.

“Equal parts memoir, whodunnit, and manual for living, NOT MY FATHER’S SON is a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us what we are, and how we make ourselves. I was completely sucked in.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062225078
ISBN-10: 0062225073
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 304
Language: English